My High School Graduation Speech
By Steve Hofstetter
President Caputo, Dean Scott, Honored Guests, Dr. Miserandino, Mrs. Eichler, Mrs. Abbamonte, Faculty, Family, and Friends. We are leaving. To where, we are not sure. But we know that we are leaving.
Hunter has always existed a mirage in the concrete desert where childeren are more often berated by their peers for learning than not. Hunter has always existed a brief respite in a book where the words â€peerâ€ and â€œencouragementâ€ are seldom found in the same chapter. Hunter has always existed a constant in what would otherwise be the ever changing equasion we have come to know as â€œhighschool.â€ Hunter has been our sanctuary from the storm for the past six years, and in some cases, thirteen.
Now, we journey into a world of uncertainty. We journey into a world of chaos, question, and, dare it be said, college. We donâ€™t think that college will be all that scary, but the odd thing is, we donâ€™t know for sure. For all we know, our room mates will be hermits, our teachers will be monsters, and all of our parents will move to Milwaukee and live under assumed names before Thanksgiving break. It could happen, because weâ€™re not sure that it canâ€™t.
We can give you the volume of a polynomial equation rotated about any axis you please without missing a beat, but we canâ€™t tell you what the future will hold. No one can. No book weâ€™ve ever read can teach us what will happen; there is no studying the future until it becomes the present. But we have all had tremendous opportunity to learn from the past.
Hunterâ€™s advanced academic environment has not taught us just the atomic weight of tungsten and how to say â€œwhere is the nearest hotel?â€ in Spanish; it has encouraged us to reach out further than the classroom. We have learned how to deal with hunger and AIDS, we have learned how to direct a musical, we have learned how to throw a fastball. We have learned how to live.
We have been taught, not by lesson plan or homework assignment, but by experience. Our independent studies, ICY projects, and teaching internships have given us a sense of responsibility, and the remarkable skill of learning from others. But who can we learn from?
What our parents were taught by Andy Griffith, we have learned from Saved By the Bell. Their heroes were Superman, Batman, and Captain America; in our high school years, all three have died at least once, and the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers are a crude replacement at best. Our aunts and uncles drifted to sleep listening to Buddy Holly and Bobby Ridell, our radios jerk us violently out of bed playing Greenday and the Goo Goo Dolls. Their scientists astounded the world when they landed a man on the moon; ours clone sheep. It is not that we donâ€™t have icons, it is not that we donâ€™t have role models. In this world of constant transformation,we just have to be more selective.
The world no longer comes in black and white. The world now comes in super VGA, and we have 256 choices to make everyday. However, we have had the education to make them.
We are told our world is uncertain, we are told our world is changing. However, change is not a new phenomenon. By the time we had taken the Hunter test, the Berlin Wall had already come down, the Persian Gulf War was settled. The world is not just changing. The world is evolving.
So where do we fit in? How do we make our mark on this already turning world?
We will be the class of 2001. We will be the beginning of a new era of icons; we will be the role models. We will be the scientists, we will be the writers, we will be the doctors. We have been taught tolerance, we have been taught respect, we have been taught not to be afraid of success. Whether we are Harvard or Yale, UVA or Michigan, Binghamton or Albany, one thing is certain. We will succeed. .
We will turn off Saved By the Bell, we will ignore anything Mighty and Morphin, and we will turn down the sound of our stereos. And we will succeed.
We have been told that we are among the best and the brightest. Our SAT and AP grades are amongst the highest in the country, but in ten years, that will not matter. We will not be judged on how we scored on tests, we will be judged on what those scores have taught us. We will be confident. We will be understanding. We will be successful. We will not measure this success by our money, or by our possessions. We will measure this success by our families, by our careers, and by the impact we have made on those around us.
We are headed into what we are told is the real world, and are not supposed to be ready for it. We are supposed to be afraid and hesitant, we are supposed to be reluctant. So why arenâ€™t we? Weâ€™ve been in the real world for six years. Weâ€™ve dealt with those of other cultures, weâ€™ve held jobs, weâ€™ve braved subways, busses, and ferries, and all to learn. We are our own icons. We are ready for the world. We are ready for anything.